4 Aug 2010

Parliament pays respects to slain NZ soldier

7:50 pm on 4 August 2010

Parliament has paid its respects to Lieutenant Timothy O'Donnell, the first New Zealand soldier killed in Afghanistan.

Lieutenant O'Donnell was killed and two other soldiers injured when a four-vehicle patrol was attacked by insurgents in Bamyan province on Tuesday.

Acting Prime Minister Gerry Brownlee told Parliament on Wednesday that the death is a stark reminder of the risks Defence Force personnel face every day in Afghanistan.

Mr Brownlee said New Zealand is in Afghanistan because it is not immune to acts of terrorism planned from that country.

ACT Party leader Rodney Hide said it is easy for ordinary citizens to forget the role soldiers play protecting our borders and preserving our way of life.

Progressive Party leader Jim Anderton said Parliament must acknowledge the huge burden it asks of young soldiers and their families to bear.

Governor-General Sir Anand Satyanand says the loss of a New Zealand soldier in Afghanistan is tragic.

Sir Anand says he and his wife join all New Zealanders in expressing deep and sincere sympathies and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured.

Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has offered her country's sympathies to New Zealand and the soldier's family.

Ms Gillard says Australia knows what it feels like to lose a soldier in Afghanistan.

Opposition leader Tony Abbott joined Ms Gillard in acknowledging New Zealand's loss, saying the nations are an Anzac family.